10th April, 2011
Burbank Airport Marriot Hotel & Convention Center
2500 Hollywood Way Burbank,
California 91505 USA



 

 

Doug was delighted to once again attend MONSTERPALOOZA in Burbank, and joined fellow FX creators and actors Bob Burns, Don McLeod, Haruo Nakajima, Brian Steele, Douglas Tait, Tom Woodruff Jr., Shinchi Wakasa, and translator Jason Varney in a panel moderated by Frank Woodward, derector of the documentary MEN IN SUITS. The Q & A was filmed for the DVD.

Doug was also joined by Fan Sapiens Anoray and Siofelia and friend Johnny Wolf, and Anoray kindly wrote a report especially for The Doug Jones Experience!


MY DAY AT MONSTERPALOOZA 2011

By Anoray


No matter how many times I’ve been fortunate enough to see Dougie, my stomach is always full of butterflies! It was especially fluttery fun to return to Monsterpalooza, the venue where I’d first met Dougie a couple of years ago. It had been a blast helping him celebrate his 49th birthday, and he treated me to such an endearing, premiere "Doug Jones Experience," he hooked this Fishie for life, LOL!

On this return visit, I’d be meeting up with fellow Fan Sapiens Sianna (Ofelia aka Siofelia) and Johnny (Wolf Johnny aka Wolf Dog). I also had my boys in tow because I knew they’d get a kick out of seeing Dougie again, plus finding out how their favorite TV and movie creatures are made. This was the third year for Monsterpalooza and the crowds were definitely bigger. It's a trade show, so not really a con, and it was chock full of black t-shirted artsy looking people everywhere. For those creature builders out there (and you know who you are, Kusanivy!) who want to see lots of visuals, here's one lengthy, eyeball satisfying , YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXDPQZXhh38

The plan was to meet up at Dougie’s table, but I had no clue where it was. My sons and I wound through the maze of booths where artists sculpted yet more creepy crawlies to add to the already massive population. In one corner, an actor gazed serenely out at a crowd of rapt observers while he was transformed into the spitting image of Beetlejuice, moldy face, purple suit and all! He even had the raspy voice and con man patter down to a tee. There weren't many cosplayers, but I did see a cute, fuzzy blue dragon, and someone walking around with a grotesque vise screwed onto his head.

It wasn’t too long before we found Dougie, esconsed in a high traffic zone near a giant gorilla. It was such a delight to see his beautiful blue-green eyes widen, and a smile light up his face as he enveloped me, then my boys, in a heartwarming hug. I passed along BOSIES and greetings from everyone in The Tank, of course, and he most happily reciprocated! He talked about how wonderful it had been to see sweet Mixie (Michele) in Fargo, then meet precious SillyKris (Kristen) and Tigermind (Lauren) at Mega Con in Florida. Dougie LOVES his Fan Sapiens and totally appreciates all the affection and treats they bestow upon him, that's for sure. As we talked, I realized he was wearing the sleek black shirt I’d admired in a Facebook post. He said he’d worn it especially for me -- my heart did a triple flip flop on the spot He’s always doing such sweet things like this to let us know how much he cares!

He told me Sianna had been by earlier and would be back soon, but he hadn’t seen Johnny yet. It was very hectic and busy around his table, so impossible to talk for long segments at a time. In between all his eager visitors, we chit chatted a bit about various things. At some point, he mentioned he’d been busy recently doing a photo shoot for another book for Medallion Press, this one called FALLEN SUPERHEROES. It’s about heroes who never made it because there’s something not quite right about their superpowers. It sounds hilarious and it’s being put together by the same quirky, creative team for MIME VERY OWN BOOK: Adam Mock (writer), Eric Curtis (photographer) and creative director Scott Allen Perry. When they asked Dougie what kind of fallen hero he wanted to be for the book, he told them he wanted to have healing powers. So Scott Perry came up with the idea of “Healing Feet,” a superhero who comes from a long line of superhealers ... only his powers reside in his ginormous feet, not his hands! Dougie said they dressed him up with angel wings adorning a “totally nasty white leotard." His thighs were left completely naked, then a pair of tight legwarmers ended in completely icky, oversized bare feet. Dougie laughed and said nobody would want to be touched by these awful tootsies, LOL. The first photo shoot was at his house (oh, yes, how his neighbors enjoyed all the hubbub) and another shoot was set for a city street scene. I giggled at the thought of Dougie exposed to the public dressed in his outrageous "Healing Feet" attire! It all sounds delightfully absurd and I really wonder what some of the other wacky fallen heroes will be?

Sianna returned to his table around that time and we all exchanged big hugs. It was lovely to see her - she looked fantastic and full of energy. Since people were constantly vying for Dougie’s attention, we headed off to see the museum exhibits for a bit. We planned to return before Dougie headed over for the MEN IN SUITS panel. As we browsed the myriad of gruesome sights, Sianna was so thoughtful, holding my bag so I could take a couple of pictures of the boys with E.T. and some other famous critters. I must apologize to her and confess I came to this event completely bleary from a grueling week at work plagued with very early wake up hours. Between my exhaustion and keeping tabs on my kids, I was neither alert nor aware (nor very considerate, I fear!). For example, I meant to ask Sianna if she wanted me to take any photos for her, but then I totally forgot to do so PLUS I forgot to take my bag back. She kindly carried it the whole time we were in the museum. She’d also previously figured out where the panel would take place, which was a huge help. It was hard to talk much over the crowds and my curious boys, but it was great fun to walk around together and recognize all the famous creepy faces. We found a life size “Gentleman” statue of Dougie (from the HUSH espisode of BUFFY) and I later saw a sculpture of "Cesare" from THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. Of course, we encountered images of the "Pale Man" and other Dougie incarnations like "El Fauno"!

When we returned to Dougie’s table, Johnny arrived a few moments later. He, too, looked great and had grown out his mane of hair quite a bit. Again, rib cracking hugs were shared between us (Dougie was in the middle of another fan moment so couldn’t join us right then). This time, I actually remembered my manners long enough to formally introduce my sons to Sianna and Johnny (duh!!!) Not long after, we all headed for the other part of the hotel for the panel. Sianna and Johnny held us a spot while I took the boys to the restroom. Again, big thanks to them both for their patience and graciousness. There was a CAT PEOPLE panel still going on (I had no idea there were so many fans of this movie!), but it finally ended and we were able to sit down. It was a large room and very full, so we couldn't get as close to the stage as we wanted.

Frank Woodward, the director of the MEN IN SUITS documentary, moderated the panel. On stage were Bob Burns, Dougie, Don McLeod, Haruo Nakajima, Brian Steele, Douglas Tait, Tom Woodruff Jr., Shinchi Wakasa, and translator Jason Varney. I won't go into too much detail about the panel, but I can say that Dougie was definitely a crowd favorite. During the Q&A, Dougie emphasized how he wished the job title "suit performer" would go away and be replaced by the appropriate job title of "actor." All the panel members stated how important it was to have professional acting training in addition to the full use of body language needed to portray all sorts of creatures effectively. Another big favorite was Haruo Nakajima (of "Godzilla" fame), who was very funny. He gave great advice to aspiring creature actors in the audience and said he’d still be doing it himself ... but he’s 82 years old now and just can’t, so please don't come up and ask him to be in your movie! He was adorable. Brian Steele and others echoed his advice that you need to be very fit, very dedicated and passionate about the work. Bob Burns was wonderfully droll and made lots of jokes about NOT taking care of his body. He praised Dougie highly, saying he could tell Dougie had the gift of performing right from the start of their work together on the McDonald's commercials. Bob said Dougie was set way up on the wires where all the hot air would rise, but he still managed to play the piano and emote through that huge Moonhead without complaint. Dougie was obviously touched - and completely surprised - by all of Bob's wonderful words. I'm sorry to say I didn’t have a chance to meet any of the other panel participants up close. Rigel fell asleep on my lap (I found out later he was getting daddy’s cold), and I wound up having to leave the panel about 10 minutes early before either of them had a major meltdown.

The boys returned to much better spirits after making models of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I think we saw every square inch of monster-y badness there was (including a way too lifelike sculpture of a hanging man that truly belonged in Vincent Price's Wax Museum). Somehow, we found Sianna and Johnny in the chaos and then made it back to Dougie’s table. This time around, I was happy to get a hug from the always handsome and charming Derek Maki, and congratulated him on his recent DVD release of his film, INSTANT DADS. He said he had another project coming up, but we didn't get to discuss it further because a fan came up to transact what I call "Dougie Business" Alas, I never had a chance to see Derek's friend, Alberto, or their cute Maltese, London, either. Sigh. I never did find Kusanivy's friend to pass along a hello.

I could see the boys were reaching their patience limit, so we enjoyed one more round of Dougie love and hugs. Thanks to my brain dead state, I almost forgot to get any photos of us with him! After the picture taking, Dougie noticed something on the next table and ushered us away a bit. Apparently, there were some images of "boobs" visible over there, and he was worried the boys had seen that. It was so sweet of him to be concerned ... but I don't think they saw anything. Actually, as I told Dougie, the boys had already seen a bit of zombified female anatomy here and there around the event. Eeek, great mom, aren't I? But we had to laugh and I teased him about how there had also been a single, medical type boob on display when I did my SUDDEN DEATH set visit, not to mention how Dougie was surrounded by ample female-ness while filming GAINSBOURG. I was so happy when Dougie said he actually doesn't like it when the actresses are unclothed for scenes on the set because of the way their demeanor changes. Awwww ... now, there's a true Gentleman!!! (one who's good for your heart and doesn't slice it out with a scalpel)

Sadly, it was now time to say real goodbyes. One last big squeezie hug from Dougie, then the boys and I headed for the parking lot. I was going to give Sianna a ride home, but Johnny had gallantly stepped to do that so Sianna could stay longer at the event and enjoy Dougie’s company more. Sweet!

Needless to say, it was a totally different visit than my first Monsterpalooza ... and special in its own unique way. I 'm so glad I was able to cherish the experience this time with my sons, and witness the enjoyment on my friends' faces. As for seeing Dougie, I think I've finally come to realize my butterflies are no longer caused by feelings of awkwardness/nervousness, but by the anticipation of spending time with such a loving, compassionate person who makes me feel cherished. I feel blessed by all the goofy fun and genuine affection we've shared since our first meeting. I'll definitely look forward to the next time we can get together, and the warm glow his presence ignites in my heart.

 

Anoray
Los Angeles, California
21st April, 2011

© 2011 Anoray. All rights reserved.

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